Top 10 Best Two Way Radios for Hiking and Camping in 2018
Do you ever think of carrying a two-way radio while you hike?
If you don’t, this is high time and you should think about it! A two-way radio, also referred as walkie-talkie is not just a fun toy but is an important device in terms of safety. They are the best ways to get in touch with while being in back country or anywhere else where the use of a cell is not that easy to get.
The two-way radios functions well in the rural settings where there is not that much interference. They are having better range and with the single push of a button, you can very well communicate with your co-hiker or someone else who is away.
Quick Comparison: Top Two-way Radios
- Backcountry Access BC Link
- Motorola Talkabout T400 Two-Way Radios Weatherproof PTT IVOX Eco Smart Walkie Talkies
- Midland LXT630VP3 36-Channel GMRS with 30-Mile Range
- Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio
- Midland LXT600VP3 36-Channel GMRS with 30-Mile Range
**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Hiking Two Way Radio?
If you really wish to stay connected with your hiking pals while being at different spots on the trails, choosing the hiking two way radios are the best available option since there are many areas where you won’t be able to make phone calls.
The two way radios are made in such a way that they are lightweight, rugged as well as compactable. Below mentioned are some of the most important elements which you need to check for while picking your two way radio for hiking needs.
The power will boost up the range. Better the wattage more will be the range of your device. Due to the same, in order to have high range, it would be worth if you could get a license for operating on the GMRS channels.
Best GMRS radio & Best FRS radio:
If you are having the GMRS radio, then while transmitting on the FRS channels, you will be dropped to a half-watt automatically as you operate on those channels.
Long Distance Radio
Regardless of the range which you see on the package, in general you will be receiving reception for around 2 miles. The open wilderness conditions are good, especially those flat settings such as plains or a valley. Believe, even your body can very well block the signals.
Apart from model of radio which you buy, most probably all the models are coming with 22 channels. Each one of them will be having 121 privacy codes which help lower the interference of the same channels.
So if you are in an area which is crowded or somewhere the people making use of two-way radios, you might be hearing interference on the entire channels. For the same reason, two way radios come with privacy codes known as Continuous Digital Coded Squelch System (CDCSS) or Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS).
This feature will permit you to make use of the same channels what others use and speak out privately without any kind of interference.
If you are picking a walkie talkie which is of long range, one of the most attractive features which come along with it is the Out-of-Range Alert.
This is a special feature which helps you transmit a code in a periodical manner in order to spot whether another radio is in or out of the range. If two of them are within the range, then the other one will be transmitting back a confirmation code, which you will be receiving as an alert and this indicates that you can communicate.
Majority of the hikers use long range walkie talkies while being on the wilderness during camping, hunting or backpacking.
If you are planning to use the two way radios for the same, then finding one which has digital compass feature will be worth a go. This will help to show you the direction which you are facing while moving around.
Apart from helping you to stay oriented, it will also help to figure out the location with reference to the other person you are communicating with. This is a good feature for best 2 way radios for mountains.
Mostly, the two way radios will be working based on AAA as well as AA batteries, preferably the regular alkaline model. The remaining models will be using rechargeable battery packs like NiMH or NiCad. However, it is always better to go for those flexible models which can use both of these.
Rechargeable batteries are the best options if you really wanted to save your money, but keep in mind that they have a tendency to lose charge quickly.
This will be true while being on chilly environments and hence those hikers who are planning to hike around during cold climates should prefer regular batteries which provide superior performance.
This is a special feature for the hands-free operation. This will let you activate the radio by just using your voice. It is a helpful feature if you are planning to use it while hiking, boating or performing any other outdoor adventures.
This is yet another important feature. You should always clarify as well as boost your signal.
Emergency 2 Way Radio
The best models will be providing you with advanced emergency channels. There are common seven emergency channels which will get news such as natural disaster updates as well as NOAA weather alerts.
Some of the two way radios will even push emergency weather alerts and hence you don’t need to manually keep a track on the emergency channels. There are certain models which will be equipped with SOS options.
This will be coming with features such as flashing beacons, sirens, SOS flashing and also alerts transmitted to other radios within the range. There will be even LED flashlights for the walkie talkies with both red and white light.
The weather radio feature in the two way radios will help you to track the NOAA weather band stations to check the conditions you can expect while hiking. If you are planning for a long hike, then choosing a model with this feature is highly recommended.
There are certain models which offer GPS facility and hence you can make use of them for not just communicating with the co-hiker or someone away, but can find your ways around perfectly.
You can even use them for sharing your current location to others and check where they are. This is an excellent feature which helps you to keep track of each other while hiking on risky as well as non-risky areas.
You should always make sure that you clean the dust and the other particles from the two way radio after each use. This will help to improve or maintain the overall performance of your device.
You can use a wet cloth for cleaning. However, make sure that you don’t immerse the device inside water as this may lose its performance the next time you take it out. Importantly, check for the instructions provided by the manufacturer for cleaning it safely and perfectly.
Review of some of the Best Hiking Two Way Radios (FRS - GMRS Radio Reviews)
The Backcountry Access BC Link comes with exciting features like group communication. This will let the user to boost up the connection with the BCA BC Link Group Communication System.
The product is a lightweight microphone and the radio or the battery pack will help to maintain the lines of communication open regardless of your location.
The model is capable of sending an on-going slide while you are hiking on the backcountry and thus helps you to coordinate the search and rescue efforts during the event of an emergency.
This two way radio is specially designed for fitting neatly with the BCA's Stash series of packs. The units are water resistant as well as dust resistant and hence you can use it with snow and bad weather.
It is equipped with 22 FRS along with the GMRS channels. With the aid of the 121 sub-channels, the BC Link will help to provide near-constant clarity while sending critical information.
The 3.7-Volt lithium ion battery is rechargeable and hence you don’t have to worry even if you don’t fully charge it during the beginning of your journey.
The Motorola Talkabout T400 Two-Way Radios comes with IP54 weatherproof design and hence it is capable of withstanding all the effects of snow, rain and other climatic conditions. The 22 radio Channels with each 121 Privacy Codes (total of 2,662 combinations) will help you to find an available channel very easily.
You can know about the climactic conditions in advance and also keep track of the live updates on weather by just turning on the weather channel or by simply initiating the weather alerts. These features will help you to get prepared for the unexpected.
The NOAA radio service can’t be made available in all areas and hence check the local weather office for the frequency range as well as the details to light your way.
The device comes with a built-in LED and hence you can walk peacefully even in the darkness. With this model, you can be Hands-free as there is in-build iVOX and VOX.
There are even facilities for Customize Call Tones Choose. This will let you enable a feature like what the callers hear before you even start speaking. It is activated by selecting one of the 20 call tones that includes ring bells and animal sounds.
The QT (Keep It Private The Quiet Talk) feature will make sure that there is uninterrupted communication with the other Motorola radios which has got similar features.
While planning to buy handheld two-way radio for your hiking needs, it is better to go for those models which come with prepackaged headsets as this lets you for a hands free operation.
There are several models out in the market which has VOX support for the hands free operation. This is a special feature which is designed for using with the two way radio headset accessory.
Choose a particular model based on the location which you are planning to hike and the number of days you are going for the trip.
These factors will help you to filter your selection and come out with the best model available in the market.
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